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NEWSPAPER reports fan fears for 2-year-old's killers

LONDON (AP) _ Fears grew Sunday for the teen-age killers of toddler James Bulger, as newspapers bristled at a ban on identifying them and anger simmered in Liverpool, the city where the murder took place.

Home Secretary David Blunkett said Robert Thompson and Jon Venables _ who were 10 when they abducted and killed 2-year-old James in 1993 _ faced the threat of retribution when they were released from the secure children's units where they have spent the last eight years.

``I think if people continue to provide the emotional adrenaline for others who are sick of mind to actually go and do that, then there will be a danger,'' he told the British Broadcasting Corp.'s ``Breakfast With Frost'' program.

Blunkett announced Friday that the pair, both now 18, would be released, after a parole board ruled they were no longer a danger to the public. They will be given new homes and identities, which a court order bars the media from revealing.

But the injunction applies only to British media, and many fear that photos of the boys and details of their whereabouts could be released on the Internet. Publications in Spain, Italy and Germany already have said they would publish photos of the killers.

The Attorney-General, Lord Goldsmith, was considering Sunday whether to launch contempt proceedings against the Manchester Evening News, which ran a story containing information on the killers' whereabouts.

Britain's tabloid News of the World said Sunday it would reluctantly obey the court order, but called the ban ``fatally flawed.'' The newspaper vowed to ``monitor this evil pair closely'' and publish a story if either Thompson or Venables broke the terms of their parole.

The newspaper quoted Jon Venables' mother, Susan Venables, as saying she feared her son would be killed by vigilantes within four weeks.

In the gritty northern English city of Liverpool, where feelings about the murder still run high, a convoy of trucks drove in protest through town Saturday. ``Once a murderer, always a murderer,'' proclaimed the banner on one. ``Don't give them a second chance,'' said another.

James Bulger's mother, Denise Fergus, said her son's killers would never be safe.

``Thompson and Venables may think they have got off lightly and can hide,'' she said Friday. ``But I know different. I know no matter where they go, someone out there is waiting.''

Venables and Thompson lured James from a shopping center in Bootle, near Liverpool, in February 1993 as the boy waited outside a butcher's shop for his mother. They dragged the 2-year-old through town to a railway line, where they hit him with bricks and metal bars, poured paint in his eyes and finally placed him on the tracks, where a train cut him in half.

Grainy security-camera images of the toddler being led away by the two older boys, replayed countless times on television, continue to haunt Britons.

On Sunday, Blunkett urged the country to ``take a deep breath,'' noting that ``the greatest safeguard we can offer to people in the community is to rehabilitate Thompson and Venables effectively.

''...We are in Britain in the 21st century and we will deal with things effectively and we will deal with them in a civilized manner,'' he added.

A lawyer for James's father, Ralph Bulger, also called for calm.

``I think the time has really come for there to be restraint and for matters to fade away to allow everybody some time to reflect and allow what has been set up to take effect,'' Robin Makin, speaking on Bulger's behalf, told ITN television news.
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